Now existing in its third iteration, the adidas Spezial Exhibition now finds a temporary home in Gary Aspden’s hometown of Blackburn as part of the city’s British Textile Biennial, having previously stopped off in both London and Manchester in similarly sizeable presence. Living inside The Exchange, this is by far the biggest adidas collection put on display to date. Contributors to the show include Spezial regular Robert Brooks, @diggerdas, Mike Pete Lawton, @adiadiadiog and Spezial team member Mike Chetcuti. If you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing it in person, the exhibition hosts 1500+ pairs of some of the oldest and rarest adidas releases, alongside original renditions of some of your favourite three-stripe models. A large portion of the collection is Gary’s own, which has been amassed over decades of both travelling and working closely together with the brand.
The introduction of Gary Aspden’s innovative Spezial collection changed the way the brand looks back at archival products, and almost looks to reinvent the past using up to date production processes. It reaches into the heart of the brands infinite back-catalogue and pulls out some of the lesser appreciated styles that many may never have seen before. With production methods changing over the years, and original shaping no longer existing, the range tries to get as close as possible to an original shoe, something Aspden strives to achieve with every season’s collection.
Curated opposite the main arrangement were display cases protecting numerous autographed pairs signed by stars who Gary’s had dealings with in the past while he hooked them up with adidas. There are also a few hand-customised one-offs by siblings The Chapman Brothers, skateboarder and all-round creative Mark Gonzales, and longtime friend Goldie.
If you looked carefully you could also find a few of our favourite size? Exclusives dotted around, including some of our 10 Year Anniversary City Series releases, more recent Archive Munchens, and our Emerald Green Dublin.
Even though there was a torrential downpour outside throughout the opening evening, many braved the conditions and wore their best pairs out. Variations on popular City Series releases walked beside the latest Ultraboost 4D’s, while many past editions of the Spezial range mingled in-between.
The adidas Spezial Blackburn Exhibition will be on display at The Exchange until October 20th, with several special performances happening in the dates in between.